[W]hen told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.
AP, January 31

Time to join the ACLU.


We did very nicely on our Apple LEAPS last year, but boy, did we ever sell too soon. For a sense of why Apple has jumped from 20 to $76 and where it – and the virtual world – may be going, click here. I don’t pretend to understand much of it, but enough to get the gist.


Steven Coultas: ‘I’ve been reading your comments about cheap phone calls recently. As a sign of things to come, a phone company in England,, has just started offering phone calls to America or Canada from England for 0p per minute, with just a 3p connection charge. That’s from a telephone to a telephone. They’ve been offering a similar service for UK to UK calls for a while, for the same price. All billing is via the Internet, to keep costs down.’


Bob Novick: ‘I spoke with them over the phone and was told that only when they do currency CONVERSION is there a charge. If you rollover your 3 month to another you are NOT converting your currency. So there is no .75% charge.’

☞ They charge that fee on the way into the foreign currency and then again on the way out. (Click here.) But, you’re right: rolling over a CD does not require conversion. (And on $100,000 or more, it’s .50%.) (Thanks, Peter Ludemann.)


Matthew Armistead: ‘I encourage you to download The Power of Nightmares from the Internet where it’s widely available. It’s the best piece of television that I have seen. Opened up my eyes to valid perspectives that you just don’t get in the US.’

Roy Streit: ‘It is EXTREMELY powerful. You can watch the stream here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


Bruce Foerster: ‘I read your investment guide many years ago, and I still recommend it often and I gave copies to my two kids. I just read the latest iteration, and figured that I must have learned something, since I got it from the library instead of buying it. It taught me a lot (and I was able to retire at 55).’


Click here. In part:

. . . Today, thanks in large part to Social Security, the number of older Americans below the poverty line has dropped from almost 50 percent to only 8 percent.

FDR believed that Social Security should be simple, guaranteed, fair, earned, and available to all Americans. President Roosevelt was adamant that Social Security was an insurance program to provide basic needs in retirement.

As a former Wall Street lawyer, my grandfather fully supported the opportunity of every American to have fair investment opportunities. But Social Security was — and is — something different. It was — and is — the guaranteed basis of a secure retirement. . .

Those who are seeking immediate, drastic change should recognize that even the Social Security trustees appointed by the president agree that Social Security with no changes could pay full benefits until 2042, even under pessimistic assumptions about economic growth. They should recognize that the Congressional Budget Office says that Social Security with no changes could pay full benefits until 2052. They should recognize that even then benefits would be cut only about 25 percent if there were no changes, not nearly as drastically as most private account proposals would cut them. The lies and half-truths from the proponents of privatization must stop.

Most of all, the creation of fear by the unjustified use of words like “crisis” and “bankruptcy” is destructive of a reasonable debate about what adjustments to Social Security will ensure the payment of full benefits throughout the 21st century. Every honest person knows that there is no crisis, there is no threat of bankruptcy, and that what is needed are adjustments, not drastic measures like privatization. . .

James Roosevelt Jr. is a lawyer and former associate commissioner of Social Security.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


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